Special Issue "Defining, Assessing, and Treating Stress-related Disorders across Cultures"

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Clare Killikelly
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: grief, loss and trauma; cross-cultural psychology; psychotherapeutic interventions for grief and trauma; mental health of migrants and refugees
Dr. Eva Heim
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: e-mental health; cultural clinical psychology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2019, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) introduced a new categorization of mental disorders, namely, stress-related disorders, or disorders that arise due to single or multiple stressful life events. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and adjustment disorder (AjD) are included in this category along with newcomers complex PTSD and prolonged grief disorder (PGD). In addition to clear guidelines for core symptoms and accessory symptoms, the WHO working groups specified a cultural caveat, that symptoms of disorder must deviate from cultural norms. Presently, the cultural norms for stress-related disorders across different cultures have not been systematically investigated (barring PTSD). This Special Issue seeks to amalgamate recent, innovative research exploring the definition, assessment, and treatment of stress-related disorders across cultures.

Dr. Clare Killikelly
Dr. Eva Heim
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • ICD-11 stress-related disorders
  • Cultural adaptation
  • Cultural norms
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Prolonged grief disorder
  • Adjustment disorder

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: “Still standing inside me”: Local idioms of post-traumatic stress among Namibian Speakers of Khoekhoegowab
Authors: Milena Claudiu; Amber Gayle Thalmayer
Affiliation: //
Abstract: Euro-centric psychiatric conceptualizations have sometimes ignored the interplay of local and global facets in psychological suffering. Consequently, psychologists have called for the combination of emic and etic research approaches in order to better elucidate the role of culture in mental illness, and to provide culturally sensitive care. This study explored local idioms relating to posttraumatic stress (a terrible event has entered the body and is standing inside it) among speakers of Khoekhoegowab, a southern-African click language. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 participants from six urban and rural communities in Namibia. Questions probed perceptions of posttraumatic stress, in terms of etiology, course, and risk and resilience factors from a socio-ecological framework. A directed-content analysis highlights similarities and differences between the local idioms and Western constructs, as well as local norms and strategies for coping with distress. Findings are situated in current Namibian discourse on gender-based violence and women’s empowerment. Other implications, including dilemmas concerning the sharing and expression of painful emotions in culturally acceptable and role-congruent ways, are discussed.

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